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Skip Navigation Links» CONFERENCE > Past Conferences > 2004 Annotated Agenda

This summary of links to reports, studies and websites has been prepared to provide a "one-stop" guide to background information about the subjects we'll be discussing at PRPD's 2004 Conference. Many of the links you'll find will take you to documents now permanently available in PRPD's Knowledgebase. We urge you to take a few minutes to go through the PRPD Knowledgebase. We think you'll find a lot of great information!


September 29 - October 2
Hyatt Regency on the Riverwalk
San Antonio, TX

Opening Session: The State of Public Radio 2004
The Habits of Highly Effective Stations

In recent years we've opened our conference with a look at the "big picture" of listening and service trends in public radio. The 2003 opening session examined public radio's biggest success stories as well as our biggest shortcomings and challenges. Our 2002 keynote focused on the importance and responsibility each of us plays in audience service. This year, PRPD outgoing Chair Michael Arnold takes the tradition one step further as he talks with PDs at stations delivering growing levels of public service to uncover the keys to their success. This presentation will set the table for the sessions in the conference "Habits" track, designed with input from PRPD members who ranked a list of possible "habits" in an informal and unscientific online survey.

Localism: The PRPD/PRNDI Local News Beta Project
Just over a year ago, PRPD hosted a discussion in Los Angeles on how to develop core-values based tools for news directors and their staffs. The results of that discussion were presented by PRPD President Marcia Alvar in a keynote address to the 2003 PRNDI Conference in Montreal. During the first 6 months of this year, PRPD, PRNDI and 12 stations teamed up to conduct the first national "beta test" of the tools. Representing a mix of small, medium and large markets and newsrooms, the stations used used the tools to plan and evaluate newscasts, features, magazine shows and talk shows. PRNDI trainers and stations will talk about what they learned in the process.

Habits: Positioning - What's Your "Stationality" Strategy?
All good Program Directors work to create a consistent image or "stationality" for their station. While the sounds of stationality vary widely, the tactics used to create this consistent sound have a lot in common. A promotional strategy is part of the mix. Some commercial station techniques are useful but not all fit with the Core Values of our listeners. In this session, we'll see how public radio stations with very different stationalities use similar tactics to sound consistently good.

Core Values: On Air Fundraising I - Connecting the Dots
How would like you like another thirty or fifty or one hundred thousand dollars every year to invest in your station's programming service? Not only is this possible; the power to make it happen rests largely with you, the PD. And don't think you have to sell out your station's and listeners' core values. In fact, it's just the opposite. The secret is simple, because it's something you already know how to do. Some of the keys are contained in the Audience 98 reports, "Stairway to Given" and "Public Service Begets Public Support". More recently the Public Radio Tracking Study updated this information with "Turning Listeners Into Givers". In this session you'll hear how to connect the dots correctly between audience service and increased listener support.

New Trends: The Essentials of Listener-Focused Websites
More and more of our listeners are using the Internet regularly and going online via broadband. As the Internet continues to grow, a radio station's online presence becomes increasingly important. So it's crucial to know both the features your radio station's website has and the features site visitors are looking for. The Internet also now means much more than web pages - email, newsletters, audio streaming and archiving are all potential tools for increasing listener service. Yet, in most stations, these tools are largely the domain of the webmaster, development or marketing staff. Is this the time for you to pay more attention? What can a PD do with an already full plate and few resources? What should be your focus? This session will include discussion and examples of some of the best Internet practices of radio stations - public and commercial.

Basics: Being a Program Director - The Basics of the Job
Training has always been one of PRPD's "signature" activities. Even before PRPD became an official organization, its founders created a workshop to enable PDs to share their experiences. Back in the mid 1980s it was called the PD "Bee", a name inspired by the quilting bee which served as a metaphor for what the training was designed to achieve -- a way to work together to solve common problems. Today the "bee" continues in the form of The PD Workshop, an intensive 2+ day session that covers all the basics, helps PDs better manage their jobs and provides an opportunity to network with colleagues around the country.

General Session: New Core Values Research (Dual Format/Jazz)
The newest studies in PRPD's ongoing Core Values Project include our first on the core values of jazz, and a look at the value listeners get from classical music when presented on a station that programs a dual format of classical music and NPR news. Find out what we learned about both formats, and about the core values that bridge all of the studies we've done over the last four years.

Localism: Local Program Service and Sustainability
At the 2003 Public Radio Conference, PRPD President Marcia Alvar spoke of the "Promise and Perils of Local Programming". One of the major themes of this year's Public Radio Leadership Forum was Sustainable Local Programming including evaluating local programming. As we continue this discussion, PDs share details about a list of practical issues having to do with developing and sustaining local programming. We'll feature KNPR's "State of Nevada", SDPR's "South Dakota Forum", WETA's "The Program" and WUNC's "The State of Things".

Habits: Managing Talent
Some have suggested that the best way to manage talented people is to get out of their way. While this may work in some cases, a much more effective approach is to learn how to work with talent productively and coach them to success. Experience with national talent such as Garrison Keillor and Car Talk provides some insights. PRPD's Core Values Project is also working on an array of tools to use for talent hiring, evaluation and coaching. These include the News Host Ledger, Talk Host Ledger, Classical Host Ledger and Hiring Ledger. We'll review some ways to strengthen your aircheck sessions and other programming meetings to assure the growth and development of your staff.

Core Values: Dual Format Study Findings - Implications and Actions
In 2002, PRPD identified a distinct set of classical core values when it studied listeners to six full time classical stations. The major purpose of our 2004 study was to explore if and how those findings might change among listeners who hear the music on stations that present a dual format of classical music and NPR news. This session is a chance for dual format stations to talk more about the new research findings and what they mean for your programming.

New Trends: Making Content Collaborations Work for Listeners
Collaboration has become a buzzword in public radio. Many projects are being developed between stations, stations and producers, stations and national organizations, and with outside partners. A PRPD 2002 conference session examined one such project, "Chicago Matters" and considerable attention has been focused on "The Public Radio Collaboration". There are many good arguments for collaborations. They can save money and allow stations to accomplish things they would be unable to do on their own. But there are downsides too. Sometimes collaborations can dictate the content of programs and lose sight of listener needs. They can also tread the line between publicity and information. In this session we take a hard look at this new public radio approach to synergy.

Basics: An Introduction to Core Values
If you're a newcomer to the PRPD Conference, you might be a little mystified about all the talk about public radio's core values. Like what are they? And how did we figure out what the values are? PRPD board member Kingsley Smith presents a Core Values 101 "primer" that looks back at the significant findings and impact of the Core Values Project since it was launched by PRPD four years ago.

General Session: What is Localism?
The past couple of years have brought us conflicting information about how our listeners regard localism. PRPD's 2002 News Core Values study reported that core listeners often use "local" as a pejorative when local content fails to meet the standards of our best national programming. But the FCC's move last year to loosen media ownership rules triggered a firestorm of public outcry over the loss of localism. So where does that contradiction leave public radio - now virtually the only locally owned and operated stations in the country? In this session we hear from thinkers and activists (who are also big public radio listeners) and get their thoughts on our current and future role as public service broadcasters in our communities.

Localism: Measuring Community Significance
Non profits are big business and economic impact is certainly a valid measure of an organization's vitality. Public radio tracks performance by various metrics including growth in audience, loyalty, fundraising and membership. A bigger challenge is measuring whether an organization or station has achieved "community significance". This session will present various models for how stations and other nonprofits measure what matters.

Habits: Know Your Rights - The 3 "Rights" of Program Scheduling
One of the keys to good scheduling is making sure the right programs are on the right stations at the right times. In this session, we'll hear PDs talk about how they've dealt with their schedule and managed the change. We'll see their results and get a critique from a panel of programming experts. Along the way, we'll find out more about some of the tools and tactics that can make schedule changes work.

Core Values: Jazz Study Findings - Implications and Actions
A chance for jazz programmers to talk more about the findings of our new research on the Core Value Jazz Core Values of Jazz Radio and how they might be applied at your station.

Core Values: On Air Fundraising II - Honing the Message
PRPD's groundbreaking Core Values studies have been successfully applied to on-air fundraising, teaming with best practices to improve pledge drives with effective, listener-focused spots and pitches. We'll showcase some of the best work being done and talk about how you can begin creating this kind of material at your own station.

New Trends: Benchmarking
Benchmarking is the process of determining who is the very best, who sets the standard, and what that standard is. Arbitron has historically tracked format trends for commercial radio and recently developed a new "Top Performers" report for public radio that they'll unveil at this session. At our 2002 conference, Audience Research Analysis (ARA) also identified public radio top performers in its presentation of "mosters, coasters and toasters". Learn about ways to benchmark your station's performance and hear perspectives on what to keep in mind when you examine how other stations are doing in other markets.

General Session: "New Audiences" for Public Radio?
The desire to reach "new audiences" is not new for public radio. The issue was discussed in the Audience 98 report called "Rounding Up the Usual Suspects". And recently SRG commissioned a think piece that concluded news differentiation would be an effective way to increase audience. But the term "new audiences" means different things to different people. Last year the PRPD Board Member Benefits Committee conducted a system-wide "scan" of our industry's national leaders, researchers and innovators about the future of public radio and how they define "new audiences." Gretchen Helfrich, Host of WBEZ's "Odyssey" will interview some of the scan participants to share what we found, and further explore the promise and potential pitfalls of "the need to serve new audiences."

Localism: BBC Sense of Place Project
What can we learn about localism and community service from our British colleagues? As Director of Nations and Regions, the BBC's Pat Loughrey was instrumental in creating the network's groundbreaking "Sense of Place" project. In this session Loughrey demonstrates how stations in the UK are serving listeners in a variety of communities.

Core Values: The Classical Music Consumer Segmentation Study
Based on more than 25,000 interviews, the Knight Foundation's "Classical Music Consumer Segmentation Study" painted a detailed picture of how consumers fit classical music into their lives. In this session you'll get an overview of what the study learned about classical music radio, and hear how PRPD's (qualitative) core values work dovetails with this large-scale quantitative study. Three classical station PD's will also respond to the presentation.

Habits: - Audience Building - Converting Fringe to Core
If your station were limited to just one measure to gauge your success at both public service and financial stability, which would you choose? As Audience '98 demonstrated, your best bet would be the number of core listeners in your station's audience. They are the most loyal to a station's programming and as a result, more likely to support it financially. As the public radio audience has grown we've talked a lot about core listeners but there are still many myths about the tactics programmers can use to serve them. In this session we'll deconstruct some of the misconceptions about core listeners, then explore ways that stations can exploit the "realities" of building core audience to achieve increased public service.

New Trends: PRSS Content Depot
Public radio is transitioning to a new and more powerful program delivery system. The PRSS ContentDepot uses web-based tools and station automation to streamline content distribution and acquisition. What new features will the ContentDepot offer and how can you take advantage of them? We'll walk you through the ContentDepot from beginning to end-from program submission by producers to file delivery at stations. You'll get an overview of the system that will provide more than 80,000 hours of network and independently produced programming to stations, starting early next year.

PRPD Annual Member Meeting: 2nd Annual Core Values "Bake Off"
The winners of our first "Core Values "Bake Off" were announced at last year's Membership Meeting in Phoenix. We launched the contest to showcase and honor PRPD members for innovative uses of research findings and application tools developed as part of our ongoing Core Values Project. This year, we'll award prizes in 4 categories and name a grand prizewinner for the best overall entry.

Conference "Benediction" with Michele Norris
Since 1998, PRPD has capped its conference with the "benediction" - an inspirational but entirely secular event that showcases public radio's best and brightest, Traditionally we've featured individuals with long histories in public radio. This year we give our tradition a fresh look when we welcome one of public radio's newest national voices. After a highly successful ten-year career with ABC news, Michele Norris left network television to work in public radio, joining the hosting team of "All Things Considered" in December, 2002. We look forward to welcoming Michele to her first PRPD!